I have wanted to go to Bletchley Park since the Imitation Game came out because Cumberbatch. It was one of ‘those’ London activities that is on the list but I never seemed to get around to. Every weekend, exhausted from a week of work and staying up too late binge watching Netflix, the thought of having to get a TRAIN somewhere was just too much. So instead I did the usual London thing of brunching while complaining about the weather, even if it was sunny (it was too sunny). Meanwhile Bletchley remained a distant Cumberbatch infested dream, where computers and spies fought for his otterlike attention. But when my parents were over in July I bit the bullet and actually looked at the train times. Laden down with coffees we got ourselves ready to spy.
The train takes about an hour and then the park itself is only a two minute walk from the station. Why I did not do this earlier I will never know. Actually I do know, London is 100% exhausting and culture takes a backseat in favour of gin. Bletchley Park is an incredible piece of history, this is the actual location where they broke the enigma code, where they saved lives and shortened the war. After the war the site fell into ruin (like complete falling down type ruin), but a grant a few years ago meant they could repair all of the huts and turn it into a really great tourist attraction.
I of course being the excitable trollop that I am went in a black trench coat so I could hide around corners and spy on people. I then got entirely freaked out because they have hidden speakers in the trees that project the sounds of an active Bletchley Park (like the sounds of a motorbike roaring round the corner). After running away from an invisible motorbike I figured out I am not really cut out to be a spy. Unless this whole being on all the social networks is just an elaborate cover and this blog post is a double bluff…or is it???
One of the best parts of Bletchley is that they give you the option to learn about it in different ways depending on what interests you. You can learn about the technology, the codes or the people through the hand held video guides. I flicked between the people (code-cracking dorks ice skating on the lake in the middle of a war is a beautiful mental picture) and the codes, because what they managed to achieve is just phenomenal – I can’t even get my printer to work.
TOP TIP: If you are going to head out to Bletchley Park make sure you do it when it’s not raining. You are walking around the actual sites so you spend quite a bit of time outside between the huts and the manor house. You also have to save time to see a demonstration of the Bombe (the big computer machine that broke Enigma); it is one of only three working machines in the world and is hella cool to witness.
I wish I hadn’t waited so long to visit, and I can’t wait to go back and do a more through job. This is a piece of recent history that we are finally able to talk about and will leave you in awe of what humans can do. Oh and they also have the bar that was in the Imitation Game set up, so if you take along a cardboard cutout of Cumberbatch it can be like all your dreams came true.